What would you do if you were in the military and your commanding officer ordered you to get a series of vaccinations? And what if it was a series of shots that you noticed had sickened your colleagues? This was the situation of Major Jim Gallagher in the 1990s. Today, Jim tells the story of what happened to him and his colleagues. We also hear from Joe Ordia of the Virginia Freedom Keepers and Patty Healy of the National Vaccine Information Center.
All three individuals share their perspectives on the encroachment of health freedoms and what we can do to take our health into our own hands.
Listen to the episode here:
Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda
Sometimes we take freedom for granted. This is not one of those times. Many of us have become increasingly aware of the need to defend our freedoms now. The right of free expression without the threat of censorship or physical harm, the right to bodily autonomy, and the rights of parents to protect their children’s health and bodies against forced medical mandates. This is episode 281. We have three guests, Retired Major Jim Gallagher, Attorney Patty Healy with the National Vaccine Information Center, and Joe Ordia, the Regional Facilitator for Virginia Freedom Keepers.
With boldness and conviction, each shares their story and perspective in this compilation episode. Jim tells of his declining health following a round of the mandated anthrax vaccinations while he served in the military. Patty explains what motivates her to volunteer with NVIC and how she helps keep current the ever-changing state exemption forms on their website. Joe expresses the importance of our personal and parental rights to choose and direct our children’s medical care. By the way, I conducted these interviews at the Virginia Freedom Keepers Rally, enjoy it.
Retired Major, Jim Gallagher, I got to meet you here at the Virginia Freedom Keepers. It is nice to meet you.
It is nice to meet you as well.
How long were you in the Air Force?
I retired after 21 years.
How many missions do you think you flew?
It’s hard to count there, but for eighteen years, I flew all over the world.
I find it odd to meet you at this place. What brings you into this health freedom movement, Jim?
The experience I went through in 1999 when the military started their mandatory anthrax vaccination program. It was something you don’t forget.
In the military, don’t they already have rules about the number of vaccines you need to get and what not?
Yes, to be a worldwide mobile, I was vaccinated for many different ailments there. I was happy to do so when you look at some of the diseases that ravage some of the places that we had to go, I was happy to be defended.
The anthrax one stands out in your mind. Why is that?
In 1999, they started the experimental use of anthrax for biowarfare defense. They were concerned that an enemy could weaponize anthrax, aerosolize it, spray down our troops and we had no defense against it. The decision was made at that time to armor everyone with a vaccine.
I wonder how much testing that vaccine went through.
I had a lot of information. I did a lot of research to try and make an informed decision. I read the information on the good side that the military would have called it. I read some of the outside information there. To hear it advertised, they said it was the safest vaccine in the world with a history back to the 1970s for livestock workers. Whether they gave us the same exact serum that they had used for so many years, I don’t know. Who knows?
What happened, Jim?
I was in a flying squadron of healthy 20 and 30-year-olds, young people in military strength, a lot better than I am now. At that time, the topic of the day when they started the vaccinations started to become, “Have you heard about the weird illnesses? Have you heard about what happened?” There was one gentleman in the reserves there, a colonel and his fingers went off at all weird angles there. I learned later he had rheumatoid arthritis. He developed an autoimmune disease. He had a loadmaster. He is a young African-American man who is sent off to Bethesda for three months with Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disease where his immune system attacked his nervous system. One of my close friends, another pilot got off of a mission there. He had sores on his body and he was rushed off to the hospital. They told him if he had delayed another 24 hours, he would have died. In a normal group of healthy people, this is probably the first time in my life that I saw a lot of illnesses. None of us could understand it.
Did you start to connect the dots that maybe it was related to the vaccine?
I’ll tell you that everybody seemed to have these bouts of whatever shortly after taking the anthrax vaccine. You do start to connect some dots and you do start to wonder. For those cases that you couldn’t hide the people who had to be hospitalized, there were at least 20 or 30 more of the people who could still get by and they didn’t even talk about it because the medical community went on lockdown. They started to say, “There’s nothing to see here. This is the safest vaccine that the world has ever known. This vaccine has been used since the 1970s.” I can recite all their talking points to you, but you could see with your own eyes that something wasn’t right.
What happened next?
My flight commander, a brilliant young woman, a fellow pilot had vertigo. She had a loss of short-term memory. These aren’t good things for a pilot to have. She was always around. I started talking to her and asking her questions, “What’s going on?” She believed that it was related to the vaccine. She expressed that to anyone who would listen to her story. She became public enemy number one of the leadership and the medical doctors. We’d have briefings from the doctors saying why her condition is normal. They sent her off for psychiatric evaluation because they said that it was all in her head. Finally, thank God, some better doctors at Walter Reed, army doctors figured out what was going on with her. They patched her up as best they could. I believe she had pernicious anemia and autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks your body. Before I took the fourth shot of that vaccine, I was afraid.
I didn’t realize there was more than one shot.
There are six shots administered over an eighteen-month period. I don’t know why the one-shot didn’t work, but you had to get the first one, two weeks later, you got the second one, two weeks later, you got the third one. In six months, you had to get the sixth-month booster. In twelve months, you had to get the twelfth-month booster. In eighteen months, you got the eighteenth-month booster. I hope they don’t make the COVID vaccine that complicated.
Did you get the fourth shot?
I delayed it a little bit before getting the fourth shot because I was afraid. I talked to my commander and I told them I didn’t want to continue with the vaccinations. He told me in no uncertain terms of what the consequences would be of that decision. He said that I would be court-martialed. I would be sent to Leavenworth and I would be dishonorably discharged for failure to follow a lawful order. That was the choice that I faced in 1999, to cancel in my fears and not take a shot. What are the odds, anyway? I only saw a few people get sick and I had taken three shots. I hadn’t gotten sick yet. I made the choice. I played the odds. I took the vaccine and that’s the day I lost my health.
Jim, how old were you at the time?
I was 29. The day after I took the vaccine, the fatigue started. I had fatigue I really haven’t known. I would fall asleep for twelve hours and I would wake up and I would still be dog tired. I about fell asleep flying at one point. I don’t think I ever told anyone that, but I needed treatment. I couldn’t continue with the fatigue. About two days after I took the vaccine, I started to get the pain in my hands and in my wrists. We had a two-year-old at the time and I would carry him around with me wherever I went there. We had a newborn as well. I had all these pains in my arms that went on for a while. Finally, I eventually got to Walter Reed to the good docs and some brilliant army doctors took good care of me and figured out that I had developed an autoimmune disease. I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. If I take a pill every day, all those symptoms are masked and I’ll be fine.
You understood something that your gut was trying to tell you before you got that fourth shot. Now, you’re out here speaking from a stage about the need for us to be able to have medical health freedom.
I’ll tell you what I did to protect my freedom. Before I took the fourth dose of the vaccine, I left my commander’s office and I went to the doctor. I told him to give me every blood test that they had given to my supervisor because I wanted to have a little evidence. I figured if they’re going to prosecute me for refusing, or if they’re going to send me off for psych eval, they’re not going to send me out there without some evidence. I have 21 years of military service. The only thing I was ever afraid of was what the medical leadership community was trying to do to me. I got my blood work. I can tell you the day I saw all my results, I had a clean bill of health. I had a clean slate before taking the vaccine. I took the vaccine when I started to have all these symptoms. That’s when the blood test came back showing I had an autoimmune disease.
Are there people who disbelieve your story?
For me, they didn’t have a choice. I had the evidence. The doctors patched me up. They got me some medication and they wrote a waiver saying, “You don’t have to take the vaccine anymore.” They said due to the close temporal correlation between the onset of symptoms and the anthrax vaccine, it wouldn’t be medically prudent to take any more anthrax vaccine. I can tell you the day I got sick. I could tell you the symptoms and when it started. I can point to the blood work. I can see it when it was clean. I could see when it was dirty as all get out, but I can’t tell you that I have a vaccine injury because nobody can tell you because the medical community refuses to look. If they don’t do some type of double-blind placebo-controlled study or whatever, then they’re not going to see that there is a problem with any vaccine anywhere. They’re never going to look. They’re never going to do those studies because they don’t want to.
Don’t they take an oath before they become doctors to do no harm? Aren’t there doctors out there that would want to uncover this truth if they possibly could have eyes to see it?
I always thought of it like you see those scientific studies and you could find a study that said smoking is harmful. You think to yourself in the 2000s, when you read a study that says smoking is harmful, where have you guys been for 50 years? It takes science a little time. Scientists have to study the metadata. They have to determine that there is a problem. They have to look and they have to study it. Science doesn’t happen at warp speed. All doctors have our best interests at heart, but they can’t get ahead of science. No doctor could come out to me and say, “I think the vaccine did that to you.” “Doctor, what is medical scientific evidence you have to back that up?” You get to a real chicken and the egg part that a doctor probably truly couldn’t tell anyone until the 2000s that they died from smoking.
I appreciate your own story. I know that it’s part of a whole wave of stories that will be the mounting evidence that scientists and doctors are looking for to help them understand the link between vaccines and illness.
I want to say that what I lived through with mandatory vaccination, it was hell. It’s not anything I would wish upon anyone. I hope that I can share my story with all of our leaders so that they don’t make decisions that the world will come to regret.
Thank you for that word, Jim.
Patty, I’m glad to be at this Virginia Freedom Keepers event. It is the March Against Mandates and you work or volunteer for the NVIC, the National Vaccine Information Center.
It was founded in 1982 by Barbara Lee Fisher and Kathy Williams. They were two moms who went on to build this organization to educate people about medical decisions, including vaccines so that you could have informed consent when it came to making decisions about you and your family’s health.
What I love about your site is it’s like you. It’s super straightforward, not flaky, weird, nothing will go into my body kind of thing. You want people to have the information at hand.
Information is power. One of the things I’ve done at NVIC is I have a scientific background as well. It’s a legal background. I help them update their state exemption webpages. I know it helped me make a decision about what I was going to do with my children and where I was living. We wanted to keep that updated because these things change so much, even before this COVID hit. There were laws that were constantly changing. We’re trying to make it very user-friendly so parents can come there before the school year starts and get some idea of what it is they need to do or can do.
If I lived in Rhode Island, I could scroll through and find Rhode Island and see exactly what exemptions are possible in my state.
A lot of times, we have links to forms where you can print it out. Unfortunately, the links changed as the state websites change so we go there to update and make sure everything’s active.
How did you get involved in all this, Patty?
I have a scientific background. I was a research scientist. I went to law school. I practice patent litigation, primarily biotech out in California. I ended up having a baby and my nephew, who are twins, were diagnosed with autism. He did experience some symptoms after maybe during some of his earlier childhood immunizations. I wasn’t sure whether that was linked to anything, but it made me start to think. I listened to Congressman Dan Burton having hearings from parents about whether Thimerosal was a factor in their children having autism post-immunization. Once I started looking into that as a scientist that they didn’t use placebos in their safety studies.
They didn’t do studies looking at vaccinated versus unvaccinated. To me, that’s common sense science. I could never publish something without those proper negative controls. I started thinking about it and I had to change my view about how I was looking at immunizations. I decided not to immunize my children. When we moved from California to Virginia, I got on NVIC’s website to look to see which state had the best immunization exemptions because my husband’s going to be working at the Pentagon. Virginia at the time was the one who gave us the most freedom. That’s why we moved here.
I understand Virginia is cracking down now. Can you explain what’s happening here now?
Back in 2016, the Speaker of the House, Eileen Filler-Corn, then delegate has introduced a bill that was going to remove the religious belief exemptions from Virginia for childhood immunizations and greatly curtail the medical exemptions. We lobby with a bunch of like-minded people and we’re able to convince the legislature not to go through with it, so the bill was tabled. Unfortunately, that’s something that doesn’t stop there because, with each new legislative session, there seems to be more and more intent in trying to remove these basic human freedoms from the states in which we live.
There was a bill that was going to remove the legislative decision when it came to deciding which new shots to add. They were going to make it completely CDC recommendations that were at least watered down to the Virginia Department of Health would make those decisions. There was still some citizen oversight, but we wanted to go back to legislatures making these decisions with exemptions for religious, philosophical, medical, whatever it is people need to do to make the best decisions for them and their families.
It’s not easy to lobby for our rights as individuals because I understand that the pharmaceutical companies have a lot of money to put into lobbying. It’s hard to get our voices heard. Do you agree with that?
That’s what I’ve heard but it’s not something that I’ve looked at. I know that a lot of pharmaceutical companies give a lot of money to lobbying groups. For me, if people want to spend their money, spend their money, but that doesn’t mean that our voices shouldn’t be heard. They can’t legislate away basic fundamental human rights, which is what these attempts to remove exemptions are trying to do.
Let’s go back. You mentioned how some vaccines are put out without the proper placebo trials. How is that even allowed? Most medicines do go through the right trials and stuff.
My understanding is, and the same thing is happening with the COVID vaccine, that it’s termed a biologic, and therefore, is held to a different standard than some other drug. My understanding is that the vaccine trials for COVID that their negative control is the placebo is the meningococcal vaccine. If there are any reactions, since there could be reactions from the meningococcal vaccine or its ingredients, you would never be able to see a signal from any reaction to the COVID vaccine.
In other words, they could say, “The people in the control group who got the control vaccine,” which is the meningococcal one had about the same reactions as those who were in the COVID trial, but the thing is, they’re bad reactions, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that.
If they have unhealthy reactions and you have unhealthy reactions to the COVID vaccine, they’ll cancel each other out. They’re not using a group of healthy people and giving them inert ingredients to show whether the COVID vaccine has any safety issues or not.
I’m grateful for NVIC and groups like yours that put information out so that people can make informed decisions. I know some people who have decided, “We’re going to go ahead and vaccinate our baby. We’ve looked at all the information,” but I’m not sure they have because I feel like some information is suppressed.
You get a lot of pressure. I remember as a new mom being pressured by my mom to vaccinate. I think a lot of grandparents or other parents have a misconception that the number of shots they received is the same as it is now when it has greatly expanded. It’s over 60 shots now and beyond what any grandparent would have had even their children vaccinated many years ago. It doesn’t stay the same. People need to understand that. Unfortunately, you can’t farm out these medical decisions to anybody. You have to look into the information, do your own research, and make a decision for yourself.
That’s a great piece of advice. Thank you, Patty, for your work. I look forward to talking to you again sometime.
It was very nice to meet you. Thanks for speaking with me.
I told one of the organizers I wanted to talk to an average Joe, and they found Joe for me.
Hilda, I am happy to be here with you. Thanks for having me on.
When I first met you, you introduced yourself as a Freedom Keeper. What does that mean to you, Joe?
The Freedom Keepers are a group of Virginians that are concerned specifically with preserving and expanding our medical freedom. We are pro informed consent and we oppose any state-mandated medical treatment. We believe it should be the individual’s right to choose or the individual parent’s right to choose and direct medical treatment for their children. That’s what we’re here to support.
What you’re saying makes so much sense to me. Isn’t that where we stand now that we all have the freedom to make the medical choices we choose to?
You’d think so, and under normal circumstances, maybe that’s the way it works out on a day-to-day basis. With COVID, there’s a lot of people out there that are scared. They want a solution to this virus. A lot of people are looking for a vaccine. They want a vaccine as soon as it’s available. Our health commissioner has even come out and said that as soon as the vaccine is available, he intends to mandate that every Virginia have to take that. I’m sorry, Hilda, but we view that as a violation of our civil rights. We believe that the individual’s body is sovereign.
As individuals, we can choose what we want to come in or not to come into our bodies. Whether it’s a vaccine or any kind of other medical treatment, we believe that it should be the individual’s right, or in the case of minors, the parent’s right to choose and direct their own medical treatment. For those that want the vaccine, we want to make sure that it is available for them. For those that wish to wait, perhaps, or wish to choose not to vaccinate or to not take a specifically a COVID vaccine that’s not yet tested, we want to make sure that they have the right to do so.
Joe, what put this whole movement on your radar?
It was my wife that first got me involved with the Freedom Keepers here. The group is specifically focused on the issue of medical freedom. We started before COVID became a worldwide pandemic. When I first got involved in the group, the first few cases in China were first coming. We became aware of it on the news, but it wasn’t yet a health crisis here. Businesses weren’t shut down here. It wasn’t what it is now. Now, because of the pandemic, this whole issue of medical mandates and mandatory vaccinations is going to be front and center in the national consciousness. We’re here basically holding up the standard for freedom and liberty. We want individual Virginians. We want the sovereignty of their bodies and their children’s bodies to be respected by the government. That also means without threatening or taking away access to government services like public schools or childcare, for example.
That is a little bit of what’s happening now. Let’s say, I want my kid educated in public school, but they have to sit in front of a screen for so long a time, it may not be conducive to actual learning. In some ways, because of the situation, their right to an education is being infringed.
We don’t know what the long-term effects of this mask-wearing are going to be. My wife had to be treated for strep throat. When she went to the doctor, they told her that the cases of strep throat are going up. It’s suspected because more and more people are wearing these masks and they’re breathing in and rebreathing in their own bacteria more than they otherwise should be. We don’t even know what the long-term negative effects are going to be of all these heavy-handed medical mandates. We want to make sure that an individual’s right to choose and direct their own medical treatment is respected.
What can people do, Joe, besides showing up at marches and rallies like this?
These rallies are an important step. I think that the elected officials need to hear our voices. They need to know that this is an issue that is important to us. They need to know that we’re not going away. This is not the issue of the day. This is a fundamental civil rights issue. All freedom-loving Virginians, all parents that care about the safety of their children, parents that believed that they ought to retain the right to direct their children’s medical treatment in consultation with our family doctors. This medical freedom movement is everybody. It’s your neighbor. It’s the guy that’s sitting next to you at church. It’s your cousin. This thing is much bigger than a group of fringe. They want to paint us as this fringe anti-vaccine movement. We’re not an anti-vaccine movement. We’re a pro-medical freedom movement. We want vaccines available to those that demand it. We want medical freedom and medical choice respected for those that choose not to do it.
Last but not least, you told me you have five kids. Is that right?
We do. We’ve got five children ranging in age from 8 down to 2.
Are you doing this, in some respects, for their future?
Absolutely, because if we allow the government to set a precedent that it can forcibly apply medical treatment against our consent, then we will have crossed a red line from which there was no return. Mark my words, if we allow them to get away with a mandatory COVID vaccine against our will now, years from now, we’re going to be dealing with mandated sterilization, mandated abortions because it’s in the greater good or the good of the public health. The greater good or public health has nothing to do with it. I’m talking about civil liberties guaranteed by the constitution of the United States. Life, liberty, and property will not be infringed without due process. Part of that means not infringing on my ability to choose what goes into or doesn’t come into my body.
You gave us an education. You took us to school, so thank you, Joe.
Thanks for having me on.
About Joe Ordia
Joe Ordia is the regional facilitator for Virginia Freedom Keepers, a group that lobbies for the medical freedom rights of all Virginians and opposes medical mandates. He is a strong advocate for liberty and freedom including our first amendment, second amendment, and fourth amendment rights. Joe has spent the last 20 years as an entrepreneur, defense contractor, and small business owner. He and his wife Rachel, along with their 5 beautiful children, reside in Powhatan, VA. They are members of Old Powhatan Baptist Church. Joe is considering a run for the Virginia state legislature.
About Patty Healy
Patty Healy is a former biomedical researcher and patent litigation attorney. She is a volunteer Law Researcher for the National Vaccine Information Center, assisting with information about state vaccine laws and exemptions. She is an advocate for vaccine safety, as well as conscientious objections to vaccine and other medical mandates.
About Jim Gallagher
After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in 1992, Jim embarked upon a 21 year military career as an Air Force instructor pilot. He logged over 3,500 hours in cargo planes and training aircraft in support of our nation’s global airlift operations. In 1999 like thousands of other airmen, Jim was ordered to participate in the Defense Department’s mandatory anthrax vaccination program. This resulted in a life altering experience that led him to join the medical freedom movement in 2020 when he witnessed the Corona Virus response following an eerily familiar path.
Jim moved to Virginia in 2013 with his wife and three children to begin a second career in the financial services industry.